Commentary

Devils to trade Jamie Langenbrunner?

Updated: January 7, 2011, 3:11 AM ET
By Mike Mazzeo | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEWARK, N.J. -- Following the New Jersey Devils' 4-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night, captain Jamie Langenbrunner's equipment was still in his locker stall.

Langenbrunner will likely remain a Devil for now. But that could change soon.

The 35-year-old right winger was asked by general manager Lou Lamoriello to waive his no-trade clause Thursday afternoon and was not in the lineup as the Devils took on the rival Flyers.

"The fact that I'm not there tonight probably means a trade will be happening sooner rather than later," Langenbrunner told the Newark Star-Ledger. "I'm in limbo waiting."

Lamoriello was unavailable to comment after the game.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Flyers had engaged in discussions with the Devils about acquiring Langenbrunner, who has amassed just 14 points in 31 games this season and is a minus-15. In the proposed deal, the Flyers would send third- and fifth-round draft picks to the Devils in exchange for Langenbrunner's services. According to the Inquirer, Langenbrunner would like to stay on the East Coast.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren had no comment postgame when asked if a trade was imminent.

"All I know is I was told before the game by Lou that Jamie wasn't playing," interim coach Jacques Lemaire said. "So I put someone else on that line."

Lemaire added that he'd have more information on the Langenbrunner situation "in the morning."

Langenbrunner is in the last year of a five-year, $14 million contract and will make $2.8 million in 2010-11. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Speculation is that Lamoriello might be trying to find a better offer for Langenbrunner before trading him to the Flyers. The Devils and Flyers have never made a trade with each another before.

"It's tough," said right winger David Clarkson, who snapped a 16-game scoring drought with a breakaway goal in the second period. "I don't know if I think a captain would go, but I also didn't think we'd be in this situation. I didn't think we'd be where we are. I didn't think any of this stuff would happen."

Expectations were high for the Devils going into the season. They re-signed high-scoring winger Ilya Kovalchuk to a 15-year, $100 million contract, added free agent defensemen Anton Volchenkov and Henrik Tallinder and were considered a shoo-in to reach the playoffs for the 14th straight season.

But all that could go wrong has gone wrong for the Devils (10-28-2), who have the worst record in the NHL and a league-low 22 points. And a trade of Langenbrunner could be the start of an overhaul as the Devils attempt to rebuild and restore their image of one of the most dominant and successful organizations in the NHL.

"Things are tough here so [a housecleaning] wouldn't surprise me," Clarkson said. "I don't know about a housecleaning, but I'm sure Mr. Lamoriello is doing everything he can to sort this out and fix whatever our problem is."

Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias wore their customary A's as the alternate captains. However, no one wore the C in Langenbrunner's place.

It has been well-documented that Langenbrunner clashed with Lemaire last season after Lemaire made Langenbrunner a healthy scratch on April 3 against the Carolina Hurricanes. According to the Star-Ledger, Langenbrunner was upset that Lemaire asked defenseman Colin White to wear the C that night. But White refused.

Langenbrunner was acquired by the Devils on March 19, 2002, from the Dallas Stars in a trade that also brought Joe Nieuwendyk to New Jersey. He was a member of the Devils' 2003 Stanley Cup championship team and was later named captain on Dec. 5, 2007.

In 996 career games, the 15-year veteran has scored 232 goals and added 388 assists.

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPN New York.com.

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